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August 11, 2008 | by  | in News | [ssba]

Eye on Exec

Last week’s exec meeting was an unusually subdued affair, to the likely disappointment of many – yours truly included.

The most entertaining discussion was probably the one that ensued as the exec contemplated the cost of workplace assessments. To be compliant with some kind of regulation about preventing Occupational Overuse Syndrome (OOS) or something along those lines – I’m largely assuming all of this because there was no briefing given prior to the discussion – the exec are bringing in professionals to “assess” the likely hazards present in the VUWSA offices.

Welfare Vice-President Melissa Barnard expressed understandable doubts – apparently these professionals charge $120 per hour (exclusive of GST), and over $400 for a report containing recommendations.

“$400 for an assessment? What are they going to say, ‘Your chair is fucked’?”

She further suggested: “Your room’s not feng shui, the dragon is blocking your chi?”

President Joel Cosgrove pointed out that if a VUWSA staff member developed OOS, or a similar workplace-associated condition, the VUWSA exec “could get stung for it.”

Unsurprisingly, the potential cost of replacing hazardous workplace equipment was not considered when setting this year’s budget, so next year’s exec is already looking to inherit a promising legacy.

During this discussion, the condition of the furniture in the exec workroom was raised as an issue. “I weight 105kg, I’d go through one of those,” Education Vice-President Paul Brown said, in reference to the chairs in the workrooms. Brown, to his credit, certainly carries his weight well.

In other business, a motion was passed to grant general exec member Stefan Tyler a $650 bonus. I later contemplated the possibility of introducing something similar for Salient staff.

Additionally, in what may prompt concern in the minds of many a student, I came to learn that the exec has access to the contact details of all VUWSA members – that is, an overwhelming majority of all students. This justifiably disturbing discovery came as the exec discussed the part of the Student Membership Policy that governs the communication between the student association and its members.

Apparently, in order to adhere to the Spam Act (“Spam Act?” Environmental Officer Mark Newton asked, voicing my precise thoughts), the exec must provide students with the option to opt out of being contacted by them. It was explained that it is compulsory under the Incorporated Societies Act 1908 that the exec must have the contact details of all its members, which leads me to conclude that the bureaucratic body that set this condition had never encountered the exec.

Anyway, the meeting lasted a swift 45 minutes, much to my pleasure. In case this was not enough, general exec member Seamus Brady – for the first time in (recent) living memory – actually spoke. This rarity was prompted by Barnard, who asked: “Seamus, you’re not leaving straight away, are you?”

Brady responded, in a commendable deadpan tone and an expression to match: “Why?”

As I made my departure following this excellent closure of the meeting, Brown and Tyler remained behind in the meeting room, promptly closing the door after I left. It remains a mystery what ensued.


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